How gravity and size affect the acceleration statistics of bubbles in turbulence

Vivek N. Prakash, Yoshiyuki Tagawa, Enrico Calzavarini, Julián Martinez Mercado, Federico Toschi, Detlef Lohse, Chao Sun

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We report the results of the first systematic Lagrangian experimental investigation in a previously unexplored regime of very light (air bubbles in water) and large (D/η Gt 1) particles in turbulence. Using a traversing camera setup and particle tracking, we study the Lagrangian acceleration statistics of ~3 mm diameter (D) bubbles in a water tunnel with nearly homogeneous and isotropic turbulence generated by an active grid. The Reynolds number (Reλ) is varied from 145 to 230, resulting in size ratios, D/η, in the range of 7.3–12.5, where η is the Kolmogorov length scale. The experiments reveal that gravity increases the acceleration variance and reduces the intermittency of the probability density function (PDF) in the vertical direction. Once the gravity offset has been subtracted, the variances of both the horizontal and vertical acceleration components are about 5 ± 2 times larger than those measured in the same flow for fluid tracers. Moreover, for these light particles, the experimental acceleration PDF shows a substantial reduction of intermittency at growing size ratios, in contrast with neutrally buoyant or heavy particles. All these results closely match numerical simulations of finite-sized bubbles with the Faxén corrections.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105017
Number of pages15
JournalNew journal of physics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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